Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.4 Summaries

Contributed Theses

On "Humanistic Techniques": A Study for Non-Native Teachers of the Japanese Language in Secondary Education

YOKOYAMA Noriko (The Japan Foundation Los Angels Language Center, U.S.A.)

This paper discusses humanistic techniques in teaching Japanese as a foreign language and studies their feasibility for non-native teachers of the Japanese language at the secondary level.
Moskowitz (1978) and Galycan (1977), both of which propose humanistic techniques, can be summarized as follows: 1) language education should provide learning and an environment that facilitates the humanistic growth of the learners; 2) the content of language practice should be based on student-offered material, both cognitive and affective; and 3) healthy relationships with other classmates is effective for increasing one's self-esteem and enhances learning.
While the above-mentioned discussion could be criticized as elusive or optimistic, humanistic techniques still have great value as in the following: 1) they realize the essential characteristics of language teaching/learning-first, language use is closely related with human psychology; second, language proficiency improves only through using the target language; and third, self-expression is essential in language learning; and 2) they offer teachers a great chance to explore what language learning is and how motivation is related with language learning.
This paper emphasizes the significance of humanistic techniques when they are applied to non-native teachers of Japanese in secondary education because of the following reasons: 1) in secondary education the purpose of the course is not necessarily based on the present needs of the students but is to develop intellectual and emotional dimensions through language learning; and 2) humanistic techniques seem to offer an effective way for non-native teachers to utilize their strong points such as sharing native language and cultural background with the learners as well as having their own experiences of learning the target language.
Four original classroom activities are created as samples and attached for the readers to use and evaluate.


Alternative Methods and Japanese-Language Education: Its Application and Adoption at the Japonicum in Germany

MURAI Makiko, Pinnau-Sato Heike, and SATO Kazuhiro
(Landesinstitut fur Japanische Sprache "Japonicum" Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)

At the Japonicum, the Japanese-language institute of Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany, we try to achieve an alternative language education, while we integrate alternative teaching methods into the framework of a traditionally oriented curriculum. Our aim is the education of the whole brain, in which we use the whole body, in contrast to the previous "left-brain only "education methods, which consider only the mind as most important part.
As a learning method, which uses the whole body as an alternative method, there is "TPR. " In this method, the learner responds through the whole body to the orders, which the teacher gives in the form of imperative sentences. For the pronunciation exercise, there is the VT-method, in which the phonetic signals are produced by using the tension and looseness of a body. "Relaxation exercises "use the positive relation between the brain and alpha-waves for the learning of foreign languages. The Suggestopedia course aims of the development and utilization of reserve capacities of learners. This method has unknown abilities.
From the answers on the questionnaires about these alternative methods, we got not only positive, but also negative opinions. But what the latter ones concern, are that the learners often did not understand the meanings, which the alternative methods contain. By using the alternative methods, it is important as a presupposition that both learners and teachers complete the course with the understanding of the meanings of these methods.


Communication Strategies in Elementary Japanese Language Textbooks: A Strategy of Asking Back

Chihiro Kinoshita Thomson
(Senior Lecturer, Asian Studies Unit, University of New South Wales, Australia)

A conversation is developed by both speaker and listener. Listeners, especially when they are beginning Japanese language learners talking to a native Japanese, encounter various problems of communication. One of the communication strategies listeners can engage in to solve their problems is a strategy of asking back ("What was it? " "What does X mean? " "I didn't quite understand that." etc.).
This paper discusses common problems that beginning Japanese Ianguage learners have and their causes, and examines the strategy of asking back from two viewpoints: one of communicative competence, and the other of learning strategies. Then it analyzes nine beginning Japanese textbooks in relation to the strategy and suggests a model for incorporating the strategy in elementary textbooks. The model has four presentation stages: l) set an instructional objective, 2) present a model conversation, 3) give communicative exercises, and 4) provide real-life practice opportunities.
The paper concludes that the teaching of strategies that enable learners to enhance their language ability as well as their communicativeness should be promoted.


The Effect of Signaling for Understanding Technical Text in Japanese

YAMAMOTO Hilofumi (University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan))

The purpose of this study is to develop a new reading method for foreign researchers. The plan was to achieve the following three objectives: 1) the analysis of the reading activities of the native Japanese speaker under conditions with signaling and without ; 2) the analysis of the reading activities of the non-native speaker under conditions of signaling and with a knowledge of technical terms ; and 3) the implementation of a computer-assisted technical reading system which applies signaling theory.
In this paper, the results of the second of the three objectives are described. An experiment of 2x2x2 design was conducted using college students who are non-native speakers of Japanese. Two conditions were designed into the experiments, the first concerned with the types of signaling present in the passage, and the second related to whether the passage was expository in nature or scientific and technical, the third related to whether readers have the knowledges of technical terms or not.
The results of this experiment reveal that while signaling shows no effect in expository texts, it does shown one for structural interpretation in technical texts. Additionally, no effect was observed for the interpretation of content as a result of simply presenting technical terminology, but it was found that the combined use of signaling with technical terms does promote the understanding of texts. Based on these facts, it should be possible to make use of technical knowledge in teaching reading comprehension of technical texts through the inclusion of not only vocabulary and grammar but also structural or content cues such as signaling.


Kanji Teaching to Kanji Area Students: Focusing on Korean Students Studying Japanese

CHO Hee Chul (Visiting Fellow, National Language Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan)

The kanji education for kanji area students is considered such that the students have the basic knowledge of kanji so that the kanji education was not given as much importance as for students from non-kanji area students. When studying Japanese, the kanji knowledge of Korean students should be welcomed. However, simply emphasizing the similarity of both languages, it is important not to forget the different meanings of the kanji in both countries.
In the daily-use kanji (standard kanji used in Japan) and basic-use kanji (standard kanji used in Korea), it is needless to say that there are different kinds of kanji, including old and new kanji, and there are also a number of differences in the On and Kun readings. Further, the frequency in use and practical use of the kanji are quite different.
Accordingly, it is important to research the different meanings of kanji as used in different countries (Japan and Korea) when teaching Japanese to Korean students, as well as when compiling the textbooks or dictionaries, so that effective teaching methods can be developed for Korean students studying Japanese.
This short study investigates the important points of kanji education and intends to improve the techniques for both teaching and studying kanji for Korean students, while comparing the Japanese "daily-use kanji" with the Korean "basic-use kanji."


The Effects of a Reading Strategy and Reciprocal Peer Tutoring on Intermediate Japanese Reading Comprehension

MORIMOTO Takiko (Associate Professor, El Camino College, U.S.A.)

Can innovative teaching approaches that are successful in the teaching of cognate foreign languages to English speakers be effective in the teaching of Japanese? This study proposes reasons for the reluctance of teachers of Japanese to apply such approaches, and accounts for the absence of research on L2 comprehension of Japanese text. One successful innovation for the teaching of reading comprehension in cognate languages is the teaching of comprehension strategies--making and confirming predictions, summarizing, questioning, and clarifying. Another is reciprocal peer tutoring (RPT), whereby pairs of students engage in dialogue while reading. This study evaluates the effects on comprehension in applying both of these innovations with intermediate-level students of Japanese and seeks to determine what type of learners derives the greatest benefit. Eighteen junior college students were given five opportunities during the semester to practice the comprehension strategies using RPT. Pre-and post-tests of reading comprehension were administered, and assessments were made of reading comprehension after each of the practice sessions. Analyses of test results support the finding from studies of cognate-language instruction that comprehension strategies and RPT are effective in learning to comprehend L2 text. The implications for teaching reading comprehesion of Japanese text are discussed.



The Application of Elaboration Theory of Instruction to Japanese-Language Education

NAKAGAWA Chiemi (Instructor, Cornell College, U.S.A.)
James Quinn (Assistant Professor, The University of Iowa, U.S.A.)

This paper reports on a strategy for teaching Japanese grammar to native speakers of English based on a theory of instructional design known as elaboration theory, which consists of a set of prescriptions for sequencing content over a course of instruction and comprises several instructional strategy components. These include first giving an overview of the course by presenting a few fundamental ideas at the application level, with the remainder of the course developed on increasingly detailed elaboration of these fundamental ideas. In the context of teaching Japanese grammar, students are first introduced to the concept of flexibility of word order in Japanese and the function of particles as markers. At the next level of detail, students are introduced to the idea of sentence markers. At the final level of elaboration, students learn about communicative pattern markers in relation to universal notions. Students are allowed to practice these concepts without being concerned with the memorizing of vocabulary. This sequencing of instruction allows students to focus early on in gaining practice in constructing native-like expressions over a wide range of contexts and should result in less negative transfer of English-language expression. It is proposed that such elaborative sequencing of initial grammar instruction should result in greater proficiency subsequently in contextualized and situationalized practice.


The Importance of Form in the Teaching of Kanji

Aldo Tollini (Assistant Professor, Pavia University, Italy)

The thesis deals with the problem of the teaching of kanji to non-kanji-area people. One of the most problematic points in the teaching of kanji is the selection of the kanji to be taught. Selection generally takes place without taking into account the form of the kanji. However, I think that form is one of the important elements that can facilitate or hinder the process of learning. Western students who have no familiarity with kanji can recognize and memorize better those kanji whose form is easily distinguishable and is in accordance with the visual recognition laws of western people.
   First, I introduce some considerations about the visual approach of written characters in general, and then about the different visual approach in the case of the alphabet and in the case of kanji. The I present an experiment carried out in order to understand the main features of such visual recognition laws and on the basis of the results, in the last part, I derive some conclusions on teaching methods.


Japanese Cloze Tests: Toward Their Construction

Masako O. Douglas (Lecturer, University of California, Los Angels, U.S.A.)

This study aims to construct Japanese cloze tests to be used by learners of Japanese as a second/foreign language. This study deals with the issue of "word boundaries" in counting and deleting Japanese "words" for cloze test construction, the issue of scoring, and the issue of linguistic categories of deleted words. This study examines correlations between the scores of two types of cloze tests (a morpheme version and a phrase version cloze test) by two types of scoring (an "acceptable" word method and an "exact" word method) and other tests (seven quizzes and two midterm examinations). A morpheme-version cloze test by an "acceptable" word scoring was significantly correlated with the other test scores, while a phrase-version test based on the definition of "words," which has generally been used in past studies, did not show significant correlation with the other tests.
This study also found that Japanese cloze tests measured the learners' ability to employ their knowledge of language systems not only at the intra-sentential level, but also at the level of integration of inter-sentential information and socio-cultural knowledge.
The results of this study suggest that morpheme-version cloze tests by an "acceptable" word scoring method are valid for predicting the language ability of the learners of Japanese as a second/foreign language.


Is the Reading Comprehension Performance of Learners of Japanese as a Second Language the Same as That of Japanese Children? An Analysis Using a Cloze Test

Sayoko Okada Yamashita (Lecturer, International Christian University, Japan))

This study investigates whether there are differences in reading comprehension performance between native Japanese children and learners of Japanese as a second language (JSL). The subjects were public elementary-school first graders (n=43), as well as advanced (n=29) and intermediate (n=3l) university students who were studying JSL. A fixed-ratio cloze test with 72 blanks (adapted from a folk tale, entitled Momotaro) was used to measure comprehension performance. The statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, reliability estimates, and item analysis. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that there was a significant difference between native children and lower proficiency JSL learners, although, there was no significant difference between native children and higher proficiency JSL learners. However, closer analysis indicated several salient differences between native children and advanced JSL learners. This study demonstrates that the more proficient JSL learners become, the closer their proficiency becomes to having native proficiency. In addition, the cloze procedure appears to have been a good measure of the language knowledge of both native children and JSL learners and also helped to discover individual items that are difficult for JSL learners to master.


Discourse Functions of Japanese Connectives: A Contrastive Analysis of Keredo and Noni

IMAO Yukiko (Graduate School, Nagoya University, Japan)

This paper discusses the differences between the connectives keredo and noni. It describes their discourse functions using the concept of focus. Four types of focus are used to analyze various focus phenomena in complex sentences connected by keredo/noni; the emphatic type for the first sentences succeeded by keredo/noni, and the completive, corrective and contrastive types for the second sentences preceded by keredo/noni. The analysis shows that the constituent of the first sentence can be focalized when the first sentence is marked by noni, while the constituent of the second sentence can be focalized when it is marked by keredo. The following functional differences emerge common to all usages of keredo and noni: keredo functions as a focus predictor, taking the preceding constituent out of focus, and bringing the succeeding constituent into focus ; and noni functions as a focus marker, bringing the preceding constituent into focus.


An Analysis of the Syntactic Structure of "Sakana-wa tai-ga i-i"

CHEN Fangze (Department Foreign Languages, Guangzhou University of Foreign Trade, China)

Two completely different views exist for the analysis of the syntactic structure of "Sakana-wa tai-ga i-i," one type of the "X-wa Y-ga Z" construction. One is to regard "X-wa" as the topicalization of a sentence element, and the another holds that the topic exists in the deep structure. The sentence "Sakana-wa tai-ga i-i" has been claimed as a counter-example of the latter. This paper argues a new analysis of the former stand. The sentence type represented by "Sakana-wa tai-ga i-i"(called D-type in this paper) has two subtypes: D1-type ("Sakana-wa tai-ga i-i") and D2-type ("Jinkooeisei-o uchiage-ta-no-wa So-ren-ga saisho-da"). The specific features of this type can be listed as follows: (i) "X" and "Y" are, respectively, examples of a collective and an individual noun of the same kind; (ii) The case particle "ga" in "Y-ga Z" has an interpretation of exhaustive listing. The part of "X" in the D1-type sentence is a noun, and the sentence can be analyzed as one of the three pretopicalizational structures: "X-no Y-ga Z," "Y-no X-ga Z," or "Y-ga Z-no X(-da)." The part of "X" in the D2-type sentence is a nominalization with "no," and the pretopicalizational structure of the sentence can be analyzed as "Y+Z+X." The D1-type and the D2-type sometimes fuse into one because they have a same sentential surface structure, in spite of the different pretopicalizational structures.


On Mieru, Mirareru, Mirukoto ga Dekiru

LI Jin Lian (Foreign Language Department of Shandong University, China)

Mieru, mirareru, mirukoto ga dekiru are all possible forms of the verb miru, but they each differ in meaning. When we want to express "believe" and "think," mieru has greater spontaneity, while mirareru has nuances of reasoning and judgment. These are extensions of the differences between the two forms.


A Study of the Topic of Sentences

TANIMORI Masahiro (Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University, Japan)

Although many studies have been made on the topic of Japanese sentences, there is room for further consideration. This paper is an attempt at giving a new position to the topic in Japanese sentences. It may be said that the particle wa used for marking a topic acts as proxy for various case particles by noting the relation between the topic and a comment. And the difference between the wa and especially the particle ga which, in general, indicates the nominative case seems to be revealed by reconsidering the relation between a comment sentence and a phenomenon-describing sentence.
In this paper, it is tentatively shown, quite differently from the traditional way of considering the sentence structure, that the wa-marked topic can be connected with a comment by the medium of a new concept, "Saucer." This concept may help us identify a topic. A topic marked by wa and a Saucer have a tendency to require the Saucer after a comment and da ; therefore the comment, for example, beginning with a ga-marked word, may be said to be subordinated to the Saucer, and also to be separated from the topic. It may be concluded that the [......wa......da] construction, which seems to be valid in many sentences, is one of the prototypical structures of Japanese sentences, although the number of example sentences considered here is small and many problems still confront us.

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